Following continuous refusal of Emirate airlines to fly out passengers from Nigeria, the Presidential Task Force on COVID-19 on Monday, March 15, 2021, announced it will ban it from inbound and outbound flight.
The ban is expected to take effect from midnight on Wednesday.
Emirate and KLM had in the past few weeks flown passengers into Nigeria but refused to fly passengers out owing to the new guidelines it introduced as part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Hadi Sirika, the minister of aviation, while speaking during the weekly briefing by the PTF on Monday, March 15, 2021, described the actions of the airline was discriminatory and devoid of scientific reasons.
He however noted that KLM has rescinded its decision on the guidelines for intending international passengers.
Sirika said: “We gave the two airlines options of either have a PCR test 72 hours before departure or within 72 hours before departure and repeat the PCR test on arrival or have a rapid test before departure and have PCR on arrival but not the combination of the three because it doesn’t make scientific sense.
“It makes the facilitation of passengers very cumbersome and it makes our work difficult and passengers are going through unnecessary hardship, which is not acceptable.
“Both airlines decided to carry only inbound passengers and not take outbound passengers but their reasons are adverse which doesn’t make sense.
“So, we gave them the option to do what we believe is safe and correct and KLM has accepted to bring passengers in and out on the conditions that we agreed upon which is to have a PCR test within 72 hours.
“Emirate didn’t accept the position and so, we have asked that Emirate be banned from operations midnight Wednesday and that has been communicated with them since Sunday but like the PTF chairman has said, if they come back to us to resume as KLM has done, they will be allowed, otherwise, the status quo remains and they would be banned from inbound and outbound flight.
“KLM has agreed to start immediately and they would be allowed to do so.”
Source: The Nation